Accept farmers’ demands, repeal farm laws, Delhi CM Kejriwal appeals to Centre

Farmers listen to a speaker as they block a highway during a protest at the Delhi Uttar Pradesh state border today

The farmers are adamant that they will not accept anything less than a repeal of the laws.

Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Prakash, apart from agriculture minister Tomar, represented the government side while the farmers were represented by leaders from at least 40 farm organisations. "We will not end our protests until our demands are met", said Hannan Mollah, a leader of the farmers.

Bharatiya Kisan Union Ugrahan leader Sukhdev Singh, whose Union is leading the protest at Tikri border, said arrangements made by farmers to fearless the cold weather are not helping much because of rains and subsequent waterlogging. He said the Narendra Modi government was testing the patience of farmers, even as 47 of them have died during the agitation against the farm laws.

The two sides took a long break after just an hour of discussions, during which the farmers had langar (community kitchen) food brought in from outside by a van, as they have been doing.

During the meeting, the government listed various benefits from the three laws, enacted a few months ago, but farmers kept insisting that the legislation must be withdrawn to address their apprehensions that the new Acts would weaken the MSP and mandi systems and leave them at the mercy of big corporates.

On December 30, the Centre and farmers' unions reached common ground to resolve protesting farmers' concerns over the rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning.

Tomar said the government will definitely try to discuss the three agri laws "clause by clause" if farmers remain persistent on their demand of repeal of three farm laws.

"On January 1, Tomar had told PTI that the government is hopeful of a "positive outcome" at its next meeting with farmers" unions on January 4 but refrained from predicting whether the seventh round of talks will be the last one. The government said it is willing to pledge that guaranteed prices will continue.

Thousands of farmers are protesting against 3 Farm Laws passed by the Centre at various Delhi borders. Shinde has been camping at the Shajahanpur border with lakhs of farmers and agricultural labourers from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh for weeks now.

The farmers say the laws will lead to the cartelization and commercialization of agriculture and make farmers vulnerable to corporate greed.

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